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Oh, the savage irony

Published:  18 January, 2007

by Max Allen
Horror stories abound in Australia as global warming wreaks havoc on grape growers

As frosts bit into the vines, a seminal report was released by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the University of Melbourne looking at the impact of global warming on the wine industry. According to the report, temperatures in most Australian wine regions are set to increase by between 0.3C to 1.7C by 2030.

The cropping calendar [is set to] change,' predicts researcher Leanne Webb. With an earlier harvest in a warmer climate, the temperature of the ripening period in some regions will become too warm to produce balanced wines from some, or maybe all, grape varieties growing there now.'

Some in the industry have begun to anticipate this change. Prue Henschke, for example, is planting

late-ripening, heat-loving red varieties such as Grenache and Mourvedre at her Eden Valley vineyards - something she wouldn't have dreamed of doing 10 years ago because she wouldn't have expected them to ripen sufficiently.

A sensible move. But who knows how extreme the extreme weather events will get as Australia becomes even drier and hotter than it is now.